from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A tremulous or pulsating effect produced in an instrumental or vocal tone by minute and rapid variations in pitch.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The musical effect or technique where the pitch or frequency of a note or sound is quickly and repeatedly raised and lowered over a small distance for the duration of that note or sound.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A pulsating effect in vocal music produced by the rapid reiteration of emphasis on a tone, as if under the impulse of great emotion.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (music) a pulsating effect in an instrumental or vocal tone produced by slight and rapid variations in pitch


Italian, from Late Latin vibrātus, a quivering, from Latin, past participle of vibrāre, to vibrate; see vibrate.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Borrowed from Italian vibrato, past participle of vibrare meaning "to vibrate" or "to quiver" (Wiktionary)



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  • During the recent Arts Appreciation Week in the city, one chap made his stand by declaring, "I shall never support, nor condone the use of uncontrolled vibrato!"

    Jan Cox

    November 8, 2007